LOS ANGELES-Young Diego De La Hoya won the vacant WBC Youth super bantamweight title by unanimous decision Friday against former world title challenger Jesus Ruiz and becomes the next generation of his family to win a crown.
Could there be more to come?
De La Hoya (12-0, 7 Kos) proved before a packed crowd at Belasco Theater that despite only being 21 years old, he has championship quality. Ruiz (32-7-5, 21 Kos) could never track down the youngster. It was the Mexicali boxer’s first title as a professional. It came in only his second year as a pro.
De La Hoya controlled the first four rounds with speedy counters and combinations. A five-punch combo stunned Ruiz in the third round. In the fourth round a left uppercut snapped Ruiz’s head back. In the fifth round a left jab right uppercut landed flush through Ruiz’s guard.
Ruiz had his best moments when firing jabs, but he got countered so he used them sparingly.
Beginning in the fifth stanza De Le Hoya began connecting with a stiff jab and moving from one side or another. Ruiz began finding it more difficult to close the distance. De La Hoya suffered a cut on the right eye in the sixth round from a right elbow during an exchange.
Despite the cut, De La Hoya seemed poised and focused on the veteran Ruiz, who fought Leo Santa Cruz earlier in the year. Ironically, Santa Cruz was in the audience watching the fracas. Also in the audience was former Mexican amateur foe Oscar Valdez, who fights next week in Las Vegas.
Ruiz followed De La Hoya around the ring but was unable to cut him off. De La Hoya fired combos and moved left or right. Ruiz only seemed to be able to connect with left jabs and nothing else.
A left hook by De La Hoya early in the round nearly dropped Ruiz who held on tight until the referee stepped in, in the ninth. It was perfectly timed and showed that the kid can set up a punch late in the fight. Ruiz has a good chin.
The young De La Hoya went on defense the last round as Ruiz stayed in fast pursuit. The right eye of De La Hoya began to swell to twice it’s normal size in the 10th round. A right uppercut connected when Ruiz over-pursued. But there were no knockdowns in the fight.
“Movement was big part of our strategy to outbox him. So we conditioned so I could move effectively. I thought I hurt him with some of my uppercuts…that are some of my favorite punches to throw,” said De La Hoya.
Brazil’s Everton Lopes (4-0) won by majority decision over Mexico’s Omar Tienda (13-1, 8 Kos) in one of the ugliest fights ever held at the downtown venue. After constant hitting and holding, despite taking two knockdowns, Lopes was dubbed the winner. The referee allowed the Brazilian to hold throughout the fight without a warning. It led to eight rounds of grabbing, holding and stalling the action throughout the fight.
Tienda scored knockdowns in the second and fifth round with right hands, but Lopes used his speed and holding tactics to win on points. No deductions were made. One judge had it 75-75, the other two 76-74 for Lopes.
L.A.’s Christian Gonzalez (11-0, 10 Kos) powered through Mexico’s Luis Lizarraga (5-6-1) with the proficiency of a veteran. It took a mere two rounds for Gonzalez to connect with an energy sapping left hook to the body that nearly collapsed the Mexican fighter. A few seconds later a left hook to the chin of Lizarraga ended the fight for good at 2:09 of the second round of their lightweight bout.
Ivan Delgado (7-0-1) of L.A.won by unanimous decision over Tucson’s Thomas Herrera after six rounds of a super lightweight fight. Delgado was the crisper puncher throughout the fight. Herrera had his moments but not enough to win any rounds on the judge’s cards. All three judges scored it 60-54.
Post a very slow start Rafael Gramajo (5-1-1) squeaked out a win over Adrian Rodriguez (1-7-1) after six rounds of a super bantamweight fight. Rodriguez found success on the inside for a few rounds but Gramajo rallied late in the fight to win. Gramajo is from L.A. and Rodriguez from Guadalajara, Mex.
“This was my first six-round fight. I’d only done four-round fights previously. I had a tough opponent who didn’t back down and we went toe-to-toe. I came to give the fans a show, and I did,” Gramajo said.
East L.A.’s Jonathan Navarro (2-0) floored Santa Ana’s Gibran Gutierrez (0-1) three times and won by unanimous decision after four rounds in a junior welterweight match. Navarro looked like he would destroy Gutierrez in the first round with two knockdowns. But Gutierrez showed a pretty good chin and survived four rounds. A Navarro one-two combination in the last round nearly ended the fight with seconds to spare, but Gutierrez beat the count. Navarro has heavy hands. He trains in Riverside with Robert Garcia.